Need a new phone system for your practice… where do you start?
1: Aim to improve the patient experience, through the receptionists’
Let’s start where your patients do: the reception. It’s the first point of contact between your practice and the community. Yet so many surgeries fail to get this right: Huge peaks in demand each morning often result in stressed admin staff, frustrated patients and, potentially, missed diagnoses.
A lot of systems currently in use simply weren’t designed to deal with the kind of demand GPs are now experiencing, and it’s no surprise they’re not up to the job, resulting in large numbers of missed calls, that actually INCREASE the numbers of those calls, by forcing patients to redial another number or call repeatedly in the hope of getting an answer. Hardly the definition of clinical efficiency…
The good news is, this is easier to overcome than you might think, and with less disruption than you might expect: There’s no need to replace your existing handsets and cabling, with cloud telephony, you simply route calls securely through a private cloud, enabling calls to be passed to different numbers, call-backs to be automated, and low-priority calls, such as test results, deferred to quieter times.
2: Meet your care commitments more easily
There’s a lot more to the modern GP practice than face to face appointments, and your phone system needs to be capable of more than facilitating appointment booking: Telephone appointments, while nothing new, are more popular than ever, and new GP contract stating that by 2021 all patients should have the right to video consultations. That means surgeries need systems that are future proof and they can rely on to deliver remote consultations while maintaining quality of care and ensuring ease of use for both practitioners and patients.
There are many ways these commitments could be serviced, but the sensible way is to do so through a single, connected communications system. This enables you to:
- Keep full control of patient data,
- Ensure continuity of care
- Offer video consultations in your practice
- Avoid the cost of outsourcing to a 3rd party
- Provide consultations without requiring special equipment or apps.
Can it really be that simple? Well yes. With a cloud communications platform you can integrate video and phone consultations, reception and your patient information system together seamlessly.
3: Help GPs do more, with less stress
According to the BMA , workforce shortages and underfunding are putting quality of care at risk (1). GPs are at the frontline of this, resulting in clinicians experiencing an ever-increasing workload and ever-diminishing work-life balance. This is one of the key reasons that GPs quit, and that trainees resist the leap to full-time practitioners. A situation that is surely unsustainable but an area where, you might be surprised to learn, your choice of phone system can make a big difference.
With a cloud-based phone system, your GPs can literally work from anywhere – they can manage out-of-hours appointments from home, route calls to remotely based locums with the same levels of security and information. This may not be the magic wand we’d all like, but we’ve seen it make a measurable difference to a number of practices [link to Jai case study]
“Fewer people are choosing medicine as a career and the number of vacant
medical posts continues to increase. This has led to pressure at all levels of the system with
doctors being over-stretched and at risk of illness and burn-out.”
4: Realise the benefits of combining surgeries and practices
Combining the efforts of multiple surgeries and practices under a single banner – whether through mergers or federations, makes sense on many levels – shared knowledge, resources and services should result in more efficiency and better patient care.
But it can cause issues too: legacy systems that don’t integrate can often impact directly on the patient experience and results in inefficacies. Multiple numbers for different services, an absence of information sharing, and engaged tones not only frustrate patients, they create additional workload for your reception teams.
Even in instances where multiple practices have different phone systems this challenge can be overcome: Sesui Cloud is system agnostic, simply floating above all of your current hardware to join all services into a single communication platform. This makes it far easier for patients to connect to the right person first time and enables you to balance call demand by routing calls across a shared reception.
Since moving to the cloud, we decided to go for the QR8 targets set for out-of-hours and emergency providers. And we can now see that we’ve reduced our abandonment rate by 20% and are answering 75% of patient calls within 60 seconds”
Jai Medical, London-based 5-surgery practice
Cloud telephony – why more GPs are taking the leap
Cloud telephony is quickly becoming a must-have for the forward-thinking GP practice: it frees clinicians and admin teams of many of the restrictions of traditional systems, providing new levels of control, flexibility and reporting that not only delivers more efficiency, in addition removing the security burden that onside services requires. Ultimately improving consistency of patient care and enables easy monitoring and reporting of performance against NHS commitments. Get in touch to learn how we can help